Seven UK Winter Staycation Destinations We Love

We take a UK road trip, bringing you seven destinations to have on your staycation radar. Prepare to feast, sea-to-plate-style, in Scotland, dance in Cambridge’s grooviest bar and shop at Yorkshire’s finest independents

There's something undeniably special about holidaying in your homeland. Discovering the destinations that sit on our doorstep comes with uncovering the rituals, traditions and cultures that have shaped - and continue to shape - our heritage. There's much to be said for tracing the beautiful landscapes of an area, but it's often the people we meet along the way that create the lasting magic; the individuals behind thriving foodie startups, artisan bakeries and independent art galleries.

With that in mind, and looking ahead to our next staycation, we travel across the UK, taking in some lesser-trodden pockets, to bring you the towns, islands and cities that are worth journeying for. From an old-school East Sussex chippy to a stylish Somerset manor house, with a short hiatus at Cambridge's coolest cocktail bar, these seven destinations all promise a seriously wholesome weekend getaway.

Winter wonderlands: seven staycation destinations to visit

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Isle of Skye


Scotland's dramatic landscapes can be enjoyed year-round, but there's something quite remarkable about its brooding hills in the winter months. The Isle of Skye, the largest and northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, is dotted with shimmering, windswept lochs and jagged peaks. Despite the island's off-grid location, a thriving foodie scene exists here - hand-dived scallops and langoustines, some of the world's finest native oysters and sustainable eateries make this a great choice for a culinary adventure. But where to feast? The Three Chimneys is ideal for a five-course supper, while the Red Skye Restaurant is our call for a long, lazy lunch. Outdoor enthusiasts will delight in discovering Skye's magnificent attractions, which include the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, the mountain pass of Quiraing and Dunvegan Castle.

Where to stay: Perched on southern Skye's Sound of Sleat, Kinloch Lodge is the island's favourite countryside retreat. Bedrooms hit the sweet spot between cosy and chic, with muted colour palettes, goose-feather mattress toppers and roll-top baths. Meanwhile, a sea-to-plate menu beats the drum for Skye's local larder. There are plenty of outdoor pursuits to enjoy, too, from foraging and fishing to wild walks and stalking.

Frome, Somerset



Just a two-hour drive from London, this Somerset market town is the epitome of English eccentricity; home to winding cobblestone streets, independent startups, vintage emporiums and design-forward galleries galore. With its share shops and anti-loneliness schemes, this community-minded destination feels more akin to one large family than a town. Start your day with a fist-sized flaky croissant from Rye Bakery, before picking up some greenery from plant shop Bramble and Wild. After dark, wine lovers should make a beeline for the glass-fronted facade of Eight Stony Street, an award-winning independent that stocks more than 400 labels. After picking up some exciting bottles, slip downstairs for sharing-style grub - the garden board is guaranteed to hit the spot.

Where to stay: Make the grand and glorious Grade II-listed Georgian manor Babington House your base, partly for the bespoke facial offering at its Cowshed spa, but largely for the snug living spaces. Standouts include a well-stocked library, cinema room, gym, outdoor pool and an orangery serving seasonal chef specials, most of which are crafted using ingredients freshly harvested from the walled kitchen garden.



Oh, Cambridge - land of chocolate-box, academia-steeped buildings, characterful medieval lanes and serene riverside gardens. Whether or not you've visited before, you're sure to have heard of the city's quirky rituals and free-wheeling students. But, while we're not suggesting you dismiss the hallowed university's history, we think it's the city's thriving art scene and hip new hangouts you're going to be more excited about. The perfect day? Punting along the River Cam, rummaging through the shelves of Heffers Bookshop, browsing the artworks at Kettle's Yard, dancing in 196 Cocktail Bar and taste-testing the French-inspired menus of The Senate. Plus, a pit stop at the legendary Fitzbillies for a sticky Chelsea bun.

Where to stay: Overlooking Parker's Piece green, the University Arms hotel is arguably Cambridge's best-loved bolthole. Step through its forest-green front doors and enter a world in which period charm fuses effortlessly with contemporary flair. Bedrooms are decked out in arresting shades of Cambridge blue, while bathrooms boast huge claw-foot bathtubs. Head chef Tristan Welch delivers the goods at cosy in-house restaurant Parker's Tavern - don't even think about leaving without trying his famous spaghetti bolognese.

Wine Bottles


East Sussex

Lewes is sometimes overlooked in favour of its free-spirited neighbour, Brighton, but this market town has the sort of charm that makes us giddy with excitement. If you're around on the first or third Saturday of the month, swing by Lewes Farmers' Market to snag all sorts of top-notch local produce - we'll meet you at the cheese counter. Alternatively, bag a table at Bun + Bean, where craft beers are served alongside veggie burgers and loaded fries. Come sunset, you'll find the cool kids hanging out at The Snowdrop Inn. Polish off an ale and then check out Lewes Fish Bar, which is revered locally for its fresh-from-the-sea fish.

Where to stay: Trevor House. Every inch of this former family home has a comforting vibe - all wooden floorboards, walls clad with family portraits and vintage furnishings.

Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire



Perched on the northern edge of the Cotswolds, the handsome town of Shipston-on-Stour is lined with sloping roofs and a happy mish-mash of red-brick, stone and half-timbered facades. Studded with independents, this is a great place to browse antique shops, clothing boutiques and wine cellars. Lace up your hiking boots and take a wander towards Brailes Hill, where a two-hour hike takes in a pheasant farm and dense pine forest. Creative types should carve out some time to visit the nearby Chedham's Yard, which champions traditional craftsmanship through a roster of workshops such as willow-weaving, textiles sessions and wheelwrighting.

Where to stay: Bed down at The Bower House. Slap-bang in the centre of town, its bedrooms are exactly what you'd picture those of a countryside retreat to look like, with warm lampshades, wooden furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Its restaurant is rather spectacular, too - the shell bisque risotto followed by sticky toffee pud is a strong order.


North Yorkshire

There's a lot to love about Malton, the unofficial food capital of Yorkshire, where you'll find stellar local produce alongside wheelbarrows-full of traditional character. Taste your way around town with a trip to Talbot Yard Food Court. The former stableyard features an impressive selection of artisanal suppliers, most of whom follow a "Made in Malton" ethos. Hit up Bluebird Bakery for oven-fresh bread, Food 2 Remember for premium-quality meat and The Groovy Moo for whatever-the-weather gelato. Then, flit between Atom Retro for 60s clothing, Hare & Wilde for Scandi-inspired homeware and Cosy Cottage Soap for organic skincare.

Where to stay: Crash at The Talbot, a former coaching inn where furniture upholstered in rich-toned velvet, wood-panelled walls and slick bathrooms have transformed the traditional building into a contemporary abode.

Saint Agnes, Cornwall

St Agnes


Slotted between Perranporth and Porthtowan, this former mining town is home to boutique bakeries, delicatessens and zero-waste shops. Spend mornings pootling alongside the gin-clear waters of Trevaunance Cove, before returning for a well-earned meal at The Cornish Pizza Company, where husband-and-wife duo Fiona and Tim Barton craft specials that pay homage to the town's industrial roots. The wheal kitty - laden with prosciutto, parmesan and mozzarella - is worth travelling for in itself. Post-feast, take a stroll across to The Tap House, a laid-back bar that's seen the likes of George Ezra and Ben Howard take to the stage. Walk a little further to discover Second World War bunkers and former miners' cottages built into the white cliffs.

Where to stay: The Driftwood Spars. Just a spade's throw from the ocean, the property's 15 bedrooms are graced with gingham headboards, whitewashed furnishings and coastal ornaments. The downstairs pub might just be the best spot on the North Cornish coast for a cold pint.

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